Mount Salem ZOSO Extended for 60 Days

Photo: Rudranath Fraser : Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, makes a statement on the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St. James, during the sitting of the House of Representatives on October 31.

Story Highlights

  • The House of Representatives on October 31 approved a resolution extending the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St. James, for a period of 60 days.
  • The Resolution was moved by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who explained that during this period, the Social Intervention Committee will be given space to continue the work they have already started in the area.
  • Meanwhile, to continue the extensive work that must be carried out over the next 60 days, Prime Minister Holness said seven Technical Working Groups (TWGs) have been established, namely, Physical Environment, Land Tenure, Community Safety, Human and Community Development and Employment, Business and Economic Development, Spiritual and Faith-based Intervention, and Leadership.

The House of Representatives on October 31 approved a resolution extending the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in Mount Salem, St. James, for a period of 60 days.

The Resolution was moved by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, who explained that during this period, the Social Intervention Committee will be given space to continue the work they have already started in the area.

He added that the Social Intervention Committee is expected to increase their intensity and presence to improve social services and infrastructural investment while engaging citizens in the normalisation of their community.

Mount Salem was declared as the first ZOSO on September 1, under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.

The Prime Minister said during the first 60 days of security interventions in Mount Salem, members of the Joint Force have been focused, diligent and thorough, and have largely reflected the exemplary professional ethos that is expected from all service members in the security forces.

He noted that during the Clear phase of the operation, the Joint Force used its special powers to saturate the area, removing the influence of gangs and disrupting criminal activity wherever it existed.

Mr. Holness added that during the Hold phase, the Force was tasked to focus on creating an environment in which the State’s presence could be effectively re-established, thereby reducing the opportunity and capacity of criminals to commit crime.

“Already, there has been noted progress in the willingness of citizens to partner with the State to remove the presence of violence producers, wanted persons, illegal firearms and even illegal immigrants from their community,” the Prime Minister said.

Additionally, Mr. Holness said the citizens have understood the necessity of the overwhelming security presence and the countless special operations and checkpoints that have affected their routines.

“In fact, I must especially commend the citizens of Mount Salem, who have been the real engine behind the progress within the Zone. They have been supportive of the initiative and have displayed outstanding interest and ownership of their community,” the Prime Minister noted.

He told the Lower House that so far, the social-intervention framework applied to Mount Salem focused on an integrated approach that is built on two pillars – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and Crime Prevention Through Social Development (CPTSD).

To that end, the Social Intervention Committee has undertaken a number of activities over the period, including various planning engagements with members of the Mount Salem community, the international donor community and the private sector.

The Prime Minister said early initiatives have included the hosting of a Community Fair at the Mount Salem Primary and Junior High School; a Community Action Workshop with leaders from the community; a Community ID Fair, which focused on the provision of birth certificates; and the launch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Community Safety Plan.

Additionally, a community clean-up project was launched, led by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).

Under the initiative, some 60 persons have been engaged to do the initial clean-up and repair activities within the community, and approximately 25 persons will be permanently engaged as environmental wardens.

The 25 environmental wardens will be responsible for maintaining a state of cleanliness within the community, coordinate with agencies regarding environmental issues, and maintain the collection points in the communities.

Further to this, Mr. Holness said community members will receive employment opportunities through the National Works Agency (NWA) for general maintenance work on drains and gullies.

Meanwhile, to continue the extensive work that must be carried out over the next 60 days, Prime Minister Holness said seven Technical Working Groups (TWGs) have been established, namely, Physical Environment, Land Tenure, Community Safety, Human and Community Development and Employment, Business and Economic Development, Spiritual and Faith-based Intervention, and Leadership.

In terms of the Physical Environment, Mr. Holness said this will include road repairs, cleaning of gullies and maintaining the drains.

As it relates to Land Tenure, the Prime Minister said the National Land Agency has been in the area and has conducted surveys and “is looking at how we can regularise the titling process there and give people ownership of the land they are now occupying”.

The Community Safety Group will be working with the young people to set up youth clubs and undertake leadership engagements and training.

“I think that in 60 days we have accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot more to be done. I think we have shown that we can deploy our security forces without abusing our people. We have shown that our people actually welcome the security presence and want to see more. It is the starting point and the main ingredient of the rebuilding of trust in our system,” Mr. Holness said.

 

JIS Social